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How Do We Keep Important Papers Protected?

Wi9yf7kTQxCNeY72cCY6_Images of Jenny Lace Plasticity Publish (4 of 25)If you had to leave your house because of a hurricane or wildfire, would you be able to grab your important papers on the way out the door?

Once an estate plan has been created, the next step is to determine where to keep these and other important documents, so that they will be safe in an emergency.

CNBC’s recent article, “Here are the best ways to secure important financial documents,” says that you must make sure you keep documents safely secured. The same is true about digital assets, passwords and social media accounts.

Some states have public will registries, and there are also private will registry companies.  While estate planning documents don’t need to be registered, it may be a good idea. However, registering documents may not be sufficient.

It is important that your family knows about your wills and other documents, and where to locate them. Don’t forget about your digital assets, since these assets can be bequeathed, just like bank and investment accounts.

Make multiple copies of information to protect yourself against loss.

Here are some action steps to take:

  • Buy a multifunction scanner and use it when you get a new important document;
  • Back up your digital documents on a thumb drive or a secured digital card that you can easily remove from your device. Make a copy of that storage device and put it somewhere offsite;
  • Create a cloud storage account with Google, Apple, Dropbox, or Box, specifically for backing up your documents;
  • Secure the data on your mobile devices and be careful with your computer, tablet and smartphone. Keep sensitive data on external storage or in the cloud;
  • Choose an individual to look after your social media. Companies have their own policies for when an owner passes away; and
  • There are online companies that assist in storing passwords in the cloud, but you also need to have a directive for your accounts, so that someone besides you can access the accounts and manage your data.

Even if you live in an area that has never experienced a hurricane, flood, tornado or wildfires, that doesn’t not mean that some kind of natural disaster could strike. Planning ahead will make rebuilding your life less challenging.

Reference: CNBC (August 19, 2019) “Here are the best ways to secure important financial documents”